Yesterday, I wrote about the types of collaboration we commonly observe in science. Today, I want to spend 5 minutes thinking about what happens when you write a science paper alone.
- New projects can emerge and die quickly.
- You set your own standards.
- You increase your range of skills by having to do all of the work.
- It takes slighly longer to write a paper alone since you cannot share the workload.
- The feedback loop is slow: you can waste months or years without anyone telling you how stupid you are.
- It is easier to go unnoticed when you work alone.
I believe that you can alleviate some of the pitfalls:
- Do experimental work early and often. Nature is the best coauthor.
- Read a lot and keep an open mind. Do not become overspecialized.
- Manage your time tightly.
- Make your work widely available.